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Why restaurants need convertible wells

Photograph: Shutterstock

Why do restaurants need convertible wells? There are a number of reasons:

  • They reduce labor costs.
  • They save space thanks to having a smaller footprint.
  • They save on overall costs due to more streamlined equipment needs.
  • They more easily accommodate menu changes and limited-time offers.
  • They create a dedicated area for assembling to-go and takeout orders.

When restaurants are looking to offer fresh menu options for their patrons in the most efficient way possible, truly convertible hot/cold wells are a necessity. This breakthrough technology offers ultimate serving flexibility, as well as many other advantages for the restaurant business’s bottom line. 

food line

The most obvious advantage of wells that can transition from a hot well to a cold well is the ability to serve hot, cold and even frozen food products side by side. Having the ability to assemble and plate hot entrees with cold accompaniments or vice versa allows operators to meet the ever-changing consumer’s preferences for bold flavors, customization and speed of service.

One fast casual barbecue restaurant chain in the metropolitan New York City area has been using convertible wells for several years and has experienced increased customer satisfaction year after year. The ability to plate sides such as mac and cheese, baked beans and other hot items, as well as coleslaw and other cold sides, from drop-in wells right next to the carved meats, visually enhances diners’ experience while speeding up service.

Operators also appreciate that LTI QuickSwitch wells help display their offerings better than traditional wells because they maintain proper serving temperatures while the food pans remain flush and level to the serving counter. Almost all other wells require food pans to be recessed 3 inches inside the wells, making it difficult to display the food products in a visually appealing way.

Using these wells has also enabled traditional lunch-and-dinner restaurants to increase sales by opening for breakfast and serving fresh, appealing menu items such as breakfast sandwiches along with fresh fruits, yogurts and hot sides such as hash browns or home fries. By enabling restaurants to serve what their customers are looking for, convertible wells contribute to a boost in revenue.

Convertible wells also enable operators to cut labor because only one server is needed to staff the line. With traditional hot and cold wells, two servers are needed. Especially beneficial for smaller-footprint stores, convertible wells also save space. One chain restaurant has added these types of wells in their smaller restaurant venues inside c-stores, malls and airports where square footage is key and customer traffic is unpredictable.

An emerging fast-casual chain recently installed an LTI QuickSwitch compact 3 well hot/cold/freeze counter to support its massive growth of takeout and delivery orders. With the addition of this mobile counter, employees now assemble these orders out of the way to avoid interfering with the flow of the main serving line.

LTI’sQuickSwitch patented serving technology gives operators the option to use units that have up to four wells. With QuickSwitch, each well is independently controlled, so operators can serve hot, cold and frozen foods side by side at the same time, and they can even switch between temperatures in less than an hour.

QuickSwitch is also extremely energy-efficient and can operate with or without water in the wells. Using the wells without water will help to conserve water and energy, and operators will also save on labor because they won’t need to spend time filling, refilling and draining. 

One thing is certain: Change is coming every day, and preparing for that change is key to success. Restaurants need to consider flexibility, labor costs, space utilization and overall equipment costs when designing and specifying equipment for today’s needs and beyond. Choosing technology that requires less manpower, saves space, speeds up service and maximizes flexibility of changing customer preferences is a winning solution from all angles.

Learn more about LTI’s serving technologies for chain operations, including QuickSwitch, by visiting lowtempind.com/industry-solutions/chainaccounts/.

This post is sponsored by LTI, Inc.

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